This controversial statement came from Nat West, a business owner in Portland, Oregon, who openly supported the city's Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots in 2020. Now, the proprietor of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider announced the permanent closure of his taproom due to significant financial losses incurred since those events. (Related: Retailers, businesses continue to flee Portland due to rampant violence, theft and lawlessness.)
The irony lies in the fact that West was a vocal advocate for property destruction and vandalism in Portland during that tumultuous period. Portland experienced over 120 consecutive days of far-left extremist activities at the time, including firebombings, explosive attacks, looting, arson and gun violence.
During the peak of the riots in August 2020, West utilized his social media presence to indirectly promote riot-related events. He shared flyers for these events, which encouraged attendees to "wear black" and "mask up," all while asserting that there was no centralized leadership coordinating the resistance.
By the end of just six weeks of rioting in 2020, city officials estimated that downtown businesses alone had suffered approximately $23 million in damages. A comprehensive account of the overall damage to the city during the entire duration of the riots remains undisclosed.
In a survey among business owners conducted in the aftermath of the riots, the damage costs ranged from $35 to clean up tomatoes thrown at windows to $1 million to fix broken windows and apparent paintball splatters, and to replace stolen merchandise.
Portland has witnessed an exodus of both large and small businesses in the wake of the 2020 riots, with Walmart closing all its Portland locations in March.
Recently, a business association announced that Nike's iconic community store will not reopen due to issues related to theft and public safety. Nike had sought to pay for Portland Police to provide security, but this request was denied due to ongoing police staffing issues stemming from the 2020 riots.
In May 2022, the City of Portland hired a consulting firm to conduct an independent review of its handling of the racial justice protests and subsequent riots that occurred in 2020.
On August 23, Attorney Nicholas Mitchell from Independent Monitor LLC presented the firm's official report to the Portland City Council. The report focused on events between May and November 2020 and highlighted several key findings.
One of the main observations was the perception among Portlanders of a militarized response by the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and a lack of preparedness for crowd control during the protests.
The deployment of over 700 federal officers to Portland in response to the protests was found to have significantly escalated street conflicts, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement, particularly around federal buildings.
The report mentioned that the PPB used physical force, including riot control weapons like tear gas grenades, more than 6,000 times. It also highlighted a lack of consistent rules of engagement and communication between PPB and the community, contributing to a loss of trust.
To address these issues and rebuild public trust, the report proposed several recommendations, including rebuilding the city's mutual aid network, reducing the reliance on riot control agents like tear gas, and clarifying public order and use of force directives. It also suggested creating a specialized Public Order Team, increasing oversight, and requiring PPB chiefs to be more engaged and visible during public order deployments.
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Watch this report about a man viciously beaten by Portland rioters.
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